memorial day in dirty jerz

This Memorial Day, Elizabeth and I drove up to New Jersey for a nice extended weekend. We arrived Friday night after a 7 hour, 45 minute drive. It was a wonderful weekend of hanging out with family and staying in Scott and Becca’s great new house (which I think you can see at Scott’s Facebook page). All day Saturday, Scott and I started building a stone sidewalk in the front of the house. The week before, Scott had already dismantled the existing concrete sidewalk and two concrete steps, so this is what it looked like when we started Saturday morning (around 10 a.m.).

The walk is about 25 feet long, four feet wide, and had a slope from stairs to sidewalk of about a foot and a half (we didn’t really measure that part). We decided to ditch the stairs and just install a straight, graded sidewalk with a slight pitch (about half an inch) from the left to the right (as you’re facing the house).
Scott got the stone for free from a quarry in Pennsylvania, I believe Becca’s grandfather’s quarry. We also got half a yard (about 3/4 of a ton) of stone dust from Tickner’s in Hackettstown. Scott’s Dodge Dakota was hurting, but we made it. Note how low the back end of his truck was (you can also see a good far-away shot of this in the first picture):
We also picked up some four-inch plastic tubing for a French drain and some hand tools.
Our first step was to excavate. Scott had taken out the old concrete sidewalk, but we had to get the dirt close to the grade we would use. Dad made a two-hour cameo and helped us out with this part, which was great. Here is what it looked like after we finished excavating:

No, we weren’t goofing off. We were pondering what step to take next. Those white lines were our guides for digging the trench for the drain, to run from the drain pipe on the corner of the house to the right until it peeked out of the hill. We dug most of the trench and installed the drain, which took longer than we thought thanks to over-excavating. Next, we laid fabric and put down some stone dust. After making the first few feet raked out, we compacted it with a hand tamper Scott borrowed from work. Definitely wished we had rented a compacter. Here is Scott in action:

Next, we started laying stone. This was an exciting moment for us, since it was getting on 2 p.m. and we only had a couple more hours to work. Elizabeth took this somewhat cheesy picture after we got the first stone set in place (we didn’t feel like pausing to smile, but she made us):
We ended up working until about 4:30ish, and got more than a third of the stone laid (about nine feet) – 15 stones in all. While we didn’t get as much done as we were expecting, it was all we could do in the time we had. Scott will finish on his own in the evenings after work. Here is what it looked like after we cleaned up Saturday afternoon:

Monday morning we watched the Memorial Day parade from in front of Harper’s. The Calivinist Cadet Corps (with whom I marched in many Memorial day parades) put together a “float” and a crazy candy launcher, and were definitely the life of the unusually dull parade
The “float” was two wheels with a sneaker/shoe on each of the wooden spokes. Scott had a big part in creating the float. Yes, that is a catapult functioning as a candy launcher. There was also a candy launcher kind of like a tank – a board on wheels with a chair back and a smaller catapult. I didn’t get a good picture of it though.
We finally got back to Virginia Beach around 7 p.m. Monday after a somewhat short drive. Approaching the breathtaking (because of engineering and the $12 toll) Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel was definitely a relief.
All in all, a great weekend. And I get to turn around and drive up to Jersey again this weekend…


3 thoughts on “memorial day in dirty jerz

  1. Current status report: As of June 2, the sidewalk was approximately 85% complete. The French drain is fully functional. 30 Broad is well on its way to being declared best landscaped house on the street.


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